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Top 5 Chicagoland high school football games to watch in Week 5

10 months agoEdgy Tim

“Edgy Tim” O’Halloran provides the Top 5 Chicagoland high school football games to watch in Week 5. Head to EdgyTim.Rivals.com for more coverage.

Week 5 of the 2023 IHSA football season zero’s in on some key conference showdowns which will have both conference title and IHSA state playoff seeding implications. 

Naperville Central (3-1/1-0) at Neuqua Valley (2-2/1-0)
Friday 7 p.m.

The DuPage Valley conference still remains very much up for grabs as Naperville Central looks to get a road win here in South Naperville against Neuqua Valley on Friday night. Naperville Central head coach Mike Ulreich has gotten a solid season so far from his defense along with a balanced offensive attack. Naperville Central will rely on QB Jack Cook along with TE/LB Christian Kuta and senior DL Maverick Ohle is yet another playmaker and leader for the Redhawks defense.

Neuqua Valley and head coach Bill Ellinghaus is coming off a big upset 17-7 win over rival Naperville North last Friday night as the Wildcats defense has also been a strength all season including forcing four Naperville North turnovers in last Friday’s win. Neuqua Valley will look to get its offense in a higher gear this week behind senior QB Ryan Mohler and a strong group of receivers led by senior WR Carter Stare along with senior WR/DB Miles Miskel. 

Can anyone score enough points against the other team’s defense for the win? Can the Naperville Central kicking game led by senior K Logan Ellison be a difference maker here?  

Pick: Neuqua Valley 

Prairie Ridge (4-0) at Cary Grove (4-0)
Friday 7 p.m.

Otherwise unofficially known as the annual Fox Valley Super Bowl, Prairie Ridge and Cary Grove are two of the most successful programs in the Fox Valley Conference and once again will battle for a leg up on winning the conference this season. Prairie Ridge and head coach Chris Schremp will lean on his triple option running game, led by a big and physical line play and a running offense that will look to control the clock and time of possession. Prairie Ridge FB Jack Finn is the lead option in the Wolves offense, yet QB Jack Vanderwiel is also adept at making great reads and is a threat with the run and the pass while junior OL/DL Gavin Tinch is a name to watch up front for Prairie Ridge.

Cary Grove and veteran head coach Brad Seaburg also is a run heavy triple option offense and no one knows Prairie Ridge better than Seaburg and the Trojans and vice versa. Cary Grove will lean on its power run game led by sophomore FB Logan Abraham along with junior RB Andrew Piro while junior QB Peyton Seaburg continues to get more and more comfortable running the triple option this season. 

Can anyone stop the other team’s power running game for four quarters? Could a turnover be the difference maker? Can you say overtime? 

Pick: Prairie Ridge 

Warren Township (2-2/2-0) at Lake Zurich (4-0/2-0)
Friday 7 p.m.

Very few fans of the North Suburban conference are surprised to see both Warren Township and Lake Zurich playing a meaningful game. The surprise so far this season is seeing Class 8A power Warren Township with a 2-2 record. The Blue Devils and head coach Bryan McNulty lost its first two non conference games to Barrington (4-0) and Mane South (3-1) but has since righted the ship with two straight wins over Libertyville and Stevenson. Warren Township has been able to get a big spark offensively from sophomore RB Aaron Stewart and senior RB/LB Donovan McNeal over the past few weeks and will need to rely again on the run game as the Blue Devils saw starting QB Jack Wolf status uncertain after leaving last week’s win over Stevenson with an injury.

Lake Zurich and head coach Ron Plantz were able to rally after being down 10-0 at the half last Friday against Stevenson and scored 21 unanswered second half points for the 21-16 win. The Bears will rely on the run first offensive attack led by senior RB Chris Pirrone who is the Bears go to back along with a speedy and physical defense 

Can anyone slow down the other’s running game? Can Warren Township beat Lake Zurich in Lake Zurich, one of the best game night settings in Chicagoland? I fully expect a somewhat lower scoring slugfest here. 

Pick: Lake Zurich 

Wheaton North (3-1/2-0) at Batavia (3-1/2-0)
Friday 7 p.m.

Both Wheaton North and Batavia always seem to be in the hunt year in and year out for the Dukane conference title. Wheaton North and head coach Joe Wardynski has a handful of experienced playmakers in QB Max Howser along with senior RB Walker Owens, senior TE/DL Joe Barna (Illinois) and the Falcons can beat you either from the air or with its running game this season.

Batavia and head coach Dennis Piron is a last minute failed two point conversion attempt from being 4-0 after its Week 2 14-13 loss to Class 8A power Lincoln Way East. Batavia will rely on senior QB Ryan Boe (North Dakota State) along with its balanced offensive attack led by senior RB Charlie Whelpley, who is the Bulldogs main weapon and target within the Batavia offense while the Bulldogs defense has talent led by senior DL Jordan Buckley (Ball State) along with senior ILB Ben Fiegel (SIU). 

Can the Batavia defense get the football away from the Wheaton North offense multiple times and give its offense multiple touches? Can the Batavia offense and QB Ryan Boe pick apart a Wheaton North defense that is a very strong group this season? 

Pick: Batavia 

Palatine (2-2) st Hoffman Estates (3-1)
Friday 7:30 p.m.

Palatine and head coach Corey Olson have played a very strong non conference schedule and now enter this week’s Mid Suburban West conference play looking for a win on the road at Hoffman Estates. The Pirates have gotten a big season so far from senior RB Dominik Ball (Tulane), QB Tommy Elter and RB Trey Widlowski while the Palatine defense also has some serious talent in junior 4 star ranked DE Jayden Williams along with senior DL Filip Rolek.

Hoffman Estates and head coach Tim Heyse will rely on junior QB Nathan Cleveland who is a true dual threat in the Hawks offense while RB Matt Lawson (Illinois State) is a game breaking runner while WR Stephon Sellers is another down field target and weapon. The Hawks defense has also been much improved after allowing 29 points in a Week 1 29-28 loss to Buffalo Grove. The winner of this game should get a slight leg up in the Mid Suburban West conference race before meeting up with current league leader Barrington (4-0) latest this regular season. 

Can the Palatine defense slow down and limit the big play ability of the Hoffman Estates offense for four quarters? Can the Hoffman Estates defense shut down the Palatine run game and make the Pirates beat them in the air? I fully expect a back and forth close game here. 

Pick: Palatine 

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